On 2 April 2019, the CEO of ARPANSA amended a licence issued to the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) to authorise limited production of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) in the ANSTO Nuclear Medicine (ANM) Facility.
Mo-99 is the parent nuclide of technetium-99m (Tc-99m) which is the radioisotope used in nuclear medicine procedures for the diagnosis of heart disease and other diseases. Mo-99 is currently produced in Building 54 whereas the ANM Facility only has a hot commissioning licence to produce Mo-99 and is not licensed for the routine production of nuclear medicine for domestic and international markets.
However, following receipt of an application from ANSTO under section 63 of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Regulations 2018, the CEO of ARPANSA authorised production of 30 batches of Mo-99, before the full operating licence for ANM is issued, for the purpose of mitigating risks of interruption in the supply of Mo-99 and its decay product Tc-99m to domestic and international customers. The request by ANSTO was prompted by failures of operating plant at Building 54 which have the potential to interrupt supply of Mo-99 to these markets.
The request was assessed by ARPANSA and no safety issues were identified. A licence condition was added to the amended licence to allow production of 30 batches and provide additional reporting during this period.
You can read the CEO of ARPANSA’s Statement of Reasons below: